I’ve failed retirement yet again. I had a 4 month placement in late 2017 with Sustainability Victoria establishing community energy projects in Gippsland. That finished in December of that year and I resumed happy retirement.
The Exec Officer of the Western Port Biosphere, one of Australia’s nine UNESCO Biospheres, was retiring in late 2018 and I’d long looked on at the Biosphere, thinking that there was a lot could be done with the UNESCO brand in balancing conservation and development in the Western Port region. I went down and told the Board what I reckoned they should do – and they called my bluff. “You come and do it then”, they said. It was a case of put up or shut up and the latter isn’t my strong point. So here I am, Executive Officer of the Western Port Biosphere Foundation, working with a small team based in Hastings conducting projects that explore how we can meet human needs without buggering the enironment on which we and all other species depend.
Before then, I’d had 10 years at the helm of the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance where we conducted projects in both mitigation and adaptation on behalf of our region of councils.
Prior to that, I worked in education, public policy and programs and in environmental activism.
It’s not as though all of my time now is my own, but the choice regarding how I spend it is. Until recently I was a member of a Ministerial advisory committee, the Central Coastal Board, of Regional Development Australia’s Southern Melbourne Committee, one of 55 committees across the nation that develops the evidence base for and makes recommendations about regional development to state and federal governments and I stepped down as a Trustee of the Caroline Chisholm Education Foundation, providing scholarships to students such that education can offer more broadly the life-transforming opportunities of learning to students who otherwise couldn’t afford further education at Chisholm TAFE.
I am conducting bird walks and talks around Melbourne, reviewing and evaluating interpretation programs for ecotourism agencies, I am presenting addresses to schools on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and I’m running quiz nights for community social groups. In between these activities, I step out across this wide brown land to add to my life list of Australian birds, currently sitting just shy of 660 species.
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